Monday, December 23, 2013

The Toronto Ice Storm 2013, My {Very} Personal Christmas Wish List + Some Thoughts On The Death of Supermom

{Photo by Gabriela Hansen
We're almost there! It's T-minus 2 sleeps until Christmas, and the excited energy of one 10-year-old boy is so palpable it could almost be bottled and sold! I'm pretty sure it would be enough to warm the homes of all those who are still without power from the Ice Storm of the year here in the Toronto area. For those of you who are still without power, we are sending all of you hugs and prayers and an invitation to come warm yourselves here by the fire if you need it!

We were only without power for about 15 hours, but it was an interesting exercise in the unexpected. What to do with our food to keep it from spoiling? Should we buy a generator? Do we have enough firewood? It's amazing how quickly our modern and privileged life can be reduced to something much closer to the real survival questions that others around the world actually have to ask themselves every single day. And then, just like that, the power came back in the middle of the night and we woke up to a warm home once again.

{Photo by Gabriela Hansen}

I think it's easy to forget how privileged we are, and for that, I'm grateful for experiences like yesterday's. Did I find myself suddenly crazy-grumpy in the midst of it? Yes. Yes, I did. And I think - other than raging 37-week pregnancy hormones kicking in - it was all about the "what if's" that started playing through my mind. What if I go into labour now? We are planning for a home birth, but with the power out we would have definitely headed to the hospital. And so then it was, What if the hospital's generator isn't working? And what if the roads are too icy to get there? Amazing how an active imagination is not one's friend in situations such as this. As Graham headed out with half of Oakville to see if he could find a generator "just in case," I settled in with Noah and realized I had to just make the most of it.

So, we played Monopoly and Settlers of Catan. We lit candles. Graham picked up some warm Pho soup and we ate it while snuggled under blankets by the warm glow of a roaring fire. We read a book by flashlight and snuggled {all 3+1 of us!} in Noah's bed. And we went to sleep with the calm reassurance that whatever came the next morning, we would handle it together as a family.

All of the above may sound like it is my confession, but the real confession is this: I am not in control. There. I said it. My to-do list for Christmas may be pretty much crossed off, but the pre-baby to-do list is not. I keep saying I've "negotiated" with the little man and told him he can't arrive until the New Year. There are lots of reasons for this "negotiation," like not wanting his birthday to be overshadowed by Christmas and wanting him to have the academic and athletic leg-up that comes with being born at the beginning of the year. Those are very real reasons in my heart and mind. But it's also just about me and wanting to feel like I'm in control. Through the to-do list. Having things the way I want them.

So I'm going to say it again - more for myself than for anyone else. I am not in control. I have no control over when this baby arrives. I have no control over how. Yes, we are planning for a home birth, but we may wind up with a very different story to share. I can't control what kind of baby he'll be...whether he'll sleep well, whether he'll have jaundice like his big brother did, what my recovery will look like. I can't control any of that. But the reality is, however he manages to make his grand entrance and whatever the story happens to be, it will be just perfect. Because he'll be here. And we will love him. And we'll be together as a family.

{Photo by Gabriela Hansen}

So what's on my Christmas Wish List this year? That I will learn more than ever how to let go and embrace what is with my whole heart. Whether it is picture perfect and just as I'd planned it or complicated and unexpected and less-than-convenient, my wish is that I will learn to just be present in it, savour the beauty of it, and embrace all the gratitudes within.

And with that, I confess that while I may have well-placed intentions for all that I hope to share with you on this corner of the Internet in the New Year, I don't know what life will look like. I've been trying to decide what kind of a break I should plan for after the little man arrives, and I've come to the conclusion that there are some things you just can't plan for. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and do what you can with what's in front of you. Sometimes you have to give yourself the grace to just be.

I recently shared a post on Facebook about Killing Off Supermom, and I guess I'm asking for permission to take off the cape and just be through the season ahead. Far from giving up, I'm giving in to the beauty of the unexpected. I'm surrendering to the truth that I am not in control. I'm choosing to give myself the margin I'll need to be present for the latest chapter in the book of my life and the beautiful story that is about to unfold. And I promise, as soon as I can do it without donning a crazy Supermom cape, I will share it with you.

In the meantime, my Christmas Wish List for you is this: The peace to be present. The freedom to let go. The joy of just being. The embrace of the ones you love. And the joyful anticipation of what is to come. There will no doubt be plot twists and plenty of moments filled with the unexpected. But we are not in control. And I think surrendering to that is the best gift we can give ourselves this year.

Happy Christmas, friends. May your days be merry and bright.



  1. You look so beautiful, Sarah!

    And your reminder of "I am not in control" is quite timely for me. I'm 37 weeks today, and totally having that internal struggle of wanting to schedule my baby's arrival. ("It can't be Christmas, or New Year's eve, because that's my anniversary! Being born this year would help with taxes. But being born in January might be best for baby." Etc., etc.)

    Guess I'll just take it as it comes. :)

    PS. I received my Freshly Picked moccs from your giveaway the other day, and they're beautiful!

    1. I think that's the best plan, Les. We should just take it as it comes and be grateful for all the beauty we discover along the way. Not long now! Have a really special Christmas and Anniversary with Nate, and keep me posted on your dude's debut! They will almost be like TO-to-LA cousins, hey? xo


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